What is "School Choice"?

School Choice refers to a parent or guardian's ability to choose the school that their child attends in the case that the child's feeder school is not an appropriate fit for the child. Parents and guardians can choose to apply for their child to attend a traditional school outside of their feeder pattern, a charter school, a magnet school, a vo-tech school or a private school.

How do I apply for a charter school?

If a parent or guardian wishes for their child to attend a charter school, he or she may use the Delaware Standard Application for Educational Options. The application can be downloaded on the DE Department of Education website. While there are places on the application for you to write your top three school choices, you must apply separately to each charter school and deliver those applications individually.  Also, many require supplemental information, so check their websites to see what is needed for each school. Applications are due on or before January 8th. Charter Schools can continue to accept applications after January 8th, though if they have more applications than spots available on January 8th, only those applications received by January8th will be considered in the lottery and other applications would go to the bottom of the wait list.   

What is a lottery?

On January 9th (the day after the choice deadline) any charter school that has reached or exceeded the number of spots open for the 2014-2015 school year will place applications immediately at the bottom of the wait list. If the number of applications is the same as the number of seats, all applicants will be accepted to the school. If the number of applications is more than the number of open seats, the school will hold a lottery with the student applications received by January 8th. All those who applied on or before January 8th will be placed in the lottery regardless of the day or time that he or she applied. Students will be chosen at random in a blind lottery (see school for specific methods) until the capacity is reached. Remaining students will be put on a waiting list also in order through the lottery process.   

Ex: If Odyssey Charter School has 50 open seats in kindergarten for the 2014-2015 school year and 100 students apply, they will hold a lottery with all 100 potential students. All of the students will be randomly assigned or given a number from 1-100. Numbers 1-50 will be accepted into the school and numbers 51-100 will be wait-listed. If student number 23 declines his acceptance, student number 51 will be accepted . . .and so on and so forth.

What is a preference?

Many charter schools choose to have a student preference. A preference gives certain students a higher chance of being accepted into a charter school. There are a number of different types of preferences including interest, location, gender, as well preferences for siblings of current students and children of current school staff.

Interest Preference

School Choice refers to a parent or guardian's ability to choose the school that their child attends in the case that the child's feeder school is not an appropriate fit for the child. Parents and guardians can choose to apply for their child to attend a traditional school outside of their feeder pattern, a charter school, a magnet school, a vo-tech school or a private school.

Location Preference

If a parent or guardian wishes for their child to attend a charter school, he or she may use the Delaware Standard Application for Educational Options. The application can be downloaded on the DE Department of Education website. While there are places on the application for you to write your top three school choices, you must apply separately to each charter school and deliver those applications individually. Also, many require supplemental information, so check their websites to see what is needed for each school. Applications are due on or before January 8th. Charter Schools can continue to accept applications after January 8th, though if they have more applications than spots available on January 8th, only those applications received by January8th will be considered in the lottery and other applications would go to the bottom of the wait list.

Gender Preference

Charter schools may have a preference for a certain gender to allow for all-boys schools or all-girls schools. *Please note that the law restricting the creation of a single-gender charter school in the absence of another single gender charter school for the opposite gender is "sun-setting" this year.

Preference for Siblings of Students and Children of Employees

Most charter schools in Delaware give first preference to applicants who are siblings of a current student and applicants who are children of current employees of the school (usually this only counts for employees who work at least 30 hours/week). Make sure to check with your school in regards to these preferences. In the case of sibling preferences, some schools will accept all siblings and others will only accept the younger siblings. So, for example, if your kindergartner is accepted into a charter school, that does not necessarily grant your 5th grader the preference. But when it is time for your youngest child to apply for kindergarten, he or she will be included in the preference. Please be sure to check with the schools for their preferences.